What do you do when things go too far? As a leader, you should be aware of your environment and prevent divisiveness at all turns. We all know by now divisiveness intentional or unintentional is detrimental to your culture. It will compromise your leadership effectiveness and yes it will COST you a reduction in revenue. Just ask Amazon, Etsy, and eBay, after allowing inexcusable and inappropriate political paraphernalia to be sold on their retail sites. Many of their loyal following immediately had a different feeling about who they were as a company and questioned if they should spend their dollars with them. Some may give this action and the leaders responsible for it a pass because we have become desensitized. It is easy to see this through the us/them lens of politics which historically causes a heighten emotional state in people that is most visible during the presidential political season. The last 3 presidential seasons have become more racially divided. The 2020 presidential season is even more divisive than the years before it and could have you asking what the 🤬 is going on? Now I can easily fall into my political rhetoric…but that is not what this is about…this is about looking at how leaders and culture are ruined when divisive behavior goes unchecked. Remember in today’s world silence equals complicit behavior. Leaders do not have the luxury of being complicit.
Certainly, there have been times during your tenure that you’ve thrown your hands up and said, “Are you kidding me?”, “Why did I not know about this sooner?”. Or my favorite, “What buyer authorized this to be sold?”. These questions are asked when your team is either uncomfortable bringing bad news to you or worse, they do not have a clear understanding of the company’s culture. Either way you have two huge problems on your hands. Problem 1: You took your eye off the ball. Problem 2: You got hit with it. Missteps like this are very costly. Leaders are expected to be aware of what’s happening in their environment 100% of the time. This awareness can come either through firsthand knowledge or through reliable information channels that are consistent, timely, know how to block out the distractions, and get to the heart of the matter.
Be prepared for the worst. It can be impossible to get through to people who are potentially inflexible or find it difficult to entertain another point of view. This person may be a valuable asset to the organization, but is that talent worth the resources it will take to repair the damage done to the culture of your team? Regardless of the outcome, there is going to be a time of readjustment and that will be uncomfortable. Keep an ear to the ground, give the team room to define their new way forward. All great leaders keep their eyes on the ball!
Be proactive in your leadership. Contact me for a consultation today.